First off, it was one of the earlier games that talked. Also having a one-eyed alien appear at the beginning of every game saying "hmmmm, a creature for my amusement" was good for a laugh. And it was a bit of an "Asteroids in reverse" game, due to not breaking up big objects into small ones, but small objects would come together to form big ones, and plus players got to dock with shells to increase the firepower of their ship.
Flash forwarding to a little over 15 years later, Space Frenzy would mark yet another logical vector clone to be brought to the Vectrex--minus the color from the arcade original, of course.
- Move ship left and right: joystick (or D-pad) or buttons one and two
- Use thrust: button three
- Fire weapons: button four
The game begins with two groups of segments appearing onscreen in an attempt to join together to form a cruiser so it can attack the player. If only a partial cruiser forms (i. e. the player shoots at least one segment out of a batch before its other segments join together), then it will chase after the player's ship. However, if an entire cruiser forms, it will float listlessly around the screen, not chasing the player, but it will shoot at the player's ship.
(One difference to note is that, unlike the arcade original, colliding with a ship segment is fatal, as the player[s] could pass through ship segments unharmed originally before a ship was complete.)
After each wave (note: unlike with the original, there is no bonus for completing a wave), the player is given the choice of three ships to dock with to increase their firepower. A bonus is given for time remaining after a docking. These ships consist of:
- Top ship: fires a single line of shots in front of the player's ship and two at a time behind it
- Left ship: fires three shots straight forward
- Right ship: fires a shot forward, one to the left, and one to the right of the player's ship
(Note: unlike with the original, if a player is able to dock with three ship shells, the last one they choose will be their shell for the rest of the game; with Space Frenzy, the player is allowed to continually change shells with every round.)
- Forming enemies - 10
- Incomplete cruisers - 40
- Completed cruisers - 20
- Enemy shots - 30
- Forming enemies - 20
- Incomplete cruisers - 80
- Completed cruisers - 40
- Enemy shots - 60
- Forming enemies - 30
- Incomplete cruisers - 150
- Completed cruisers - 80
- Enemy shots - 100
Level four and on
- Forming enemies - 40
- Incomplete cruisers - 300
- Completed cruisers - 150
- Enemy shots - 200
- There are several ways to play this game, one of which is the regular game, where the alien won't speak out loud, but overhead text will appear instead. The alien will also give a ranking at the end of the game ("you were a stimulating opponent"). Playing with the Digi-Speech version allows the alien to talk out loud, but with no ranking given at the end of a game, and there might be some problems with this feature, depending on the Vectrex it is played on (see the last note in the Trivia section in regards to this). And there is also the option for the player to use a VecVox (or VecVoxx) so the game will run smoothly with speech.
- An attempted clone of the SNES' Super Mario World, the unfinished Super Spike World demo, is also included on the cartridge. The player moves Spike around several screens, collecting some kind of v-shaped prizes and some rods of some sort off of a couple of telephone poles, jumping on birds (button one is used to jump), what appears to be Spike's enemy Spud, and even what seems to be a rendition of the Enterprise from Star Trek (!). Spike also can jump on platforms, some of which move or will crumble underneath his feet, as well as a couple of trees. This goes on for several screens until it wraps back to the beginning. There is no sound, no way to die, and the demo can be exited by pressing button four.
Bug (or programming misstep)
Unlike how it states in the instructions, no extra life is awarded at 10,000 points, unless this was changed in later editions.
- The alien does not appear on the ROM version for those wanting to play this on an emulator.
- At the time of its release, this was proclaimed by creator John Dondzila as to being his first "paperless" game, as the game instructions are "online", rather than having them printed out and included with the game when someone bought it from Classic Game Creations (although this doesn't include the Vectropolis 500 demo off of Dondzila's Vectopia release, as its instructions are also online). However, starting in 2009, with copies of Vaboom!/Vectrace, Vector Vaders, and Thrust being ordered from Dondzila, all of those games had the instructions printed on their boxes, so it appears since then Dondzila started doing this to probably save money, as he has never raised his prices for his cartridges (not counting shipping) since he started marking his Vectrex homebrews in 1996 ($20 U. S. for all of his games, not including several from the Vectrex Carts website that he took over from Mark Shaker, which several of those games are even cheaper). However, at the time, this was a first for Dondzila.
- With all Vectrexes having slightly different displays, funky things can happen with the display when the Digi-Speech version is played. A few people had posted online on a forum that the game ran fine with all of their Vectrexes they tried it out on. Others said they had to crank up the volume really loud to hear the alien, while another stated that the alien's volume was only slightly lower than the regular game sounds, but the graphics were distorted, with the alien's eye and pupil being separated and it looked like the alien's head was split open. (Note: Vectrex images can be hard to capture, which taking this photo proved, since lines aren't all drawn at once [too quick for the naked eye to see, but not the camera to catch], so not all of the details could be caught at the same time, like the eye problem. However, you can still see how the top of the alien's head seems to be split, along with the line going through his neck on his right [/our left], illustrating this problem.)
- Official Space Frenzy page
- A review and the voice clips from the Digi-Speech mode can be heard at the vectrex.nl site